Ultimate Guide To Successful Walleye Fishing On The Willamette River

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Walleye fishing on the Willamette River can be quite the challenge, even for experienced anglers. These elusive fish are known for their tricky behavior, making it difficult to land a catch. If you’re struggling to reel in a walleye on the Willamette River, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

This Oregon river is home to some of the most challenging walleye fishing in the region. But with the right techniques and a little bit of patience, you can increase your chances of success. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, Walleye fishing on the Willamette River is an exciting and rewarding experience that’s sure to test your skills.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Willamette River in Oregon is an excellent spot for walleye fishing, with other rivers like the Columbia and Snake offering great opportunities too.
  2. To increase your chances of success, use lures like crankbaits and jigs, or try live bait such as nightcrawlers and minnows.
  3. Walleye have specific migration patterns, so understanding when they move upstream can help you locate them more easily.
  4. When planning your trip, consider seasonal factors like fall being the best time to catch walleye on the Willamette River, and be sure to check local fishing regulations before heading out.

Walleye Fishing in Oregon

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Oregon offers excellent opportunities for walleye fishing, with a variety of waters and record-breaking catches to be found throughout the state.

Walleye waters in Oregon

Oregon is full of good spots for walleye fishing. The Willamette, Columbia, and Snake Rivers are great places to find them. The best spot is the Columbia River. This area from Portland to The Dalles and the John Day Dam is top-notch.

Another hot spot for walleye is Eastern Washington’s seep lakes like Potholes. These waters have many walleyes with no size or bag limits in Oregon’s rivers!

Top lures for walleye in Oregon

Catching walleye in Oregon can be fun with the right lures. Here are the top ones to use:

  1. Crankbaits: These lures are popular for walleye fishing. They mimic small fish that walleye like to eat.
  2. Jigs: Jigs are great for catching walleye too. You can use them alone or with live bait.
  3. Live Bait: Nightcrawlers and minnows are favorites among Oregon anglers. Walleye can’t resist them.
  4. Jigging Hard Baits: These include jigging spoons, blade baits, and gliding jigs. Many anglers think they’re the best for catching walleye.
  5. Minnows, Leeches, and Worms: Using these as bait can also help you catch more walleye in Oregon.

Oregon state walleye, sauger, and saugeye records

While walleye fishing is a popular sport in Oregon, it’s important to distinguish between walleye, sauger, and saugeye due to their similar appearances. These species have unique characteristics and specific records associated with them in Oregon State. Here is a table to better understand the records for each species:

SpeciesOregon State Record (lbs)Year CaughtLocation Caught
Walleye19.31990Columbia River
Sauger4.561993Deschutes River
Saugeye18.32004Willamette River

Remember, Sauger and walleye can be easily confused due to their similar appearances, and distinguishing between them requires DNA analysis. Also, take note that while walleye prefer clear water, the saugeye can thrive in turbid reservoirs. That’s why different environmental factors may influence where you’ll find each species.

Migration patterns of walleye

Walleye fish in Oregon, including the Willamette River, have specific migration patterns that can help anglers locate them more easily. In the spring, walleye become active and start their spawning process in medium-depth water.

They tend to move upstream during this time, especially after periods of higher stream flow. It’s important to understand these migratory behaviors to find walleye in predictable locations at different times of the year.

Evidence also suggests that adult walleye are stimulated to migrate upstream for spawning purposes. So if you’re planning a walleye fishing trip on the Willamette River, keep these migration patterns in mind to increase your chances of success!

How to Catch Walleye in the Willamette River

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To catch walleye in the Willamette River, try trolling with deep-diving lures along river bends and near weedy areas during daylight hours. Using bait and lures that resemble their natural prey can increase your chances of success.

Discover more effective techniques and recommended gear for a successful walleye fishing trip on the Willamette River in our complete guide.

Techniques for catching walleye

  1. Jigging: Use a jig with a soft plastic tail and bounce it along the bottom to attract walleye.
  2. Trolling: Slowly move your boat while dragging a lure behind to cover more water and find active walleye.
  3. Casting: Cast near rocky banks or weed beds and reel in your lure at different speeds to entice walleye.
  4. Vertical Jigging: Drop a jig straight down into deep water and lift it up and down to catch the attention of walleye.
  5. Live Bait: Use live bait such as minnows or nightcrawlers on a hook to tempt walleye into biting.
  6. Crankbaits: Choose crankbaits that resemble the prey fish in the area where you’re fishing for walleye.

Remember, each technique may work better depending on the time of day or the conditions of the water. Experiment with different techniques to see what works best for you!

Best spots and depths for walleye fishing

The Willamette River in Oregon is a great place for walleye fishing. Some of the best spots to catch walleye in the Willamette River are near river bends, along the edges, and in weedy areas during daylight hours.

Walleye prefer deeper water, so it’s a good idea to fish in depths ranging from 10 to 30 feet. During dusk and dawn, when walleye are more active, you can find them moving closer to shore.

Using bait and lures like jigs and crankbaits can increase your chances of catching walleye in these areas. Remember that the Pacific Northwest is known for its walleye fishing opportunities, so be sure to try out different lakes and rivers in the region as well!

Recommended gear and equipment

To have a successful walleye fishing trip on the Willamette River, it’s important to have the right gear and equipment. Here are some recommended items:

  1. Fishing Rod and Reel: Choose a medium to medium-heavy spinning or casting rod with a sensitive tip for detecting subtle bites. Pair it with a reel that has a smooth drag system.
  2. Fishing Line: Use monofilament or fluorocarbon line in the 8-12-pound test range. This will give you enough strength to handle big walleye while still maintaining sensitivity.
  3. Hooks: Opt for long-shank hooks in sizes 1/0 to 3/0, depending on the size of the bait you’re using. These hooks provide better hook sets and reduce the chances of deep hooking.
  4. Jigs: Pack a variety of jig sizes and colors to match the conditions and walleye preferences. Start with 1/4 to 3/8 ounce jigs in white, chartreuse, or black.
  5. Crankbaits: Have a few crankbaits in your tackle box as they can be effective for targeting walleye in deeper sections of the river. Choose lures that dive between 6-10 feet.
  6. Live Bait: Consider bringing nightcrawlers, leeches, or minnows as live bait options. Walleye are often enticed by these natural offerings.
  7. Tackle Box: Organize your gear in a sturdy tackle box with multiple compartments for easy access and storage.
  8. Polarized Sunglasses: A good pair of polarized sunglasses helps reduce glare on the water surface, allowing you to spot submerged structures and walleye more easily.
  9. Landing Net: Invest in a landing net with a wide hoop and rubberized mesh to ensure safe handling and easy release of caught fish.
  10. Fishing License: Don’t forget to obtain a valid Oregon fishing license before heading out on the water.

Tips for success

To have a successful walleye fishing trip on the Willamette River, here are some tips:

  1. Use live bait like nightcrawlers or minnows.
  2. Cast your line near rocky banks and weed beds where walleye like to hide.
  3. Try using jigs or crankbaits in different colors to see what the walleye are biting on that day.
  4. Troll along the river, drifting through potential walleye areas, to cover more ground.
  5. Fish during dusk and dawn when walleye are most active.
  6. Pay attention to water temperature and depth – walleye prefer cooler water and may move to deeper areas during the day.
  7. Be patient and persistent – walleye can be finicky biters, so keep trying different techniques until you find what works.
  8. Stay up-to-date on fishing regulations and follow catch limits to help preserve the walleye population in the Willamette River.

Planning Your Walleye Fishing Trip on the Willamette River

When planning your walleye fishing trip on the Willamette River, it’s important to consider seasonal factors, such as the best time of year to catch walleye and any fishing regulations in place.

Additionally, researching amenities and resources available along the river can help ensure a successful trip. If you’re new to walleye fishing or unfamiliar with the area, hiring a fishing guide can provide valuable expertise and increase your chances of a great catch.

Seasonal considerations

Fall is the best time to catch walleye on the Willamette River. They are more active during this season and can be found in shallower areas. Understanding their fall patterns can help you have a successful fishing trip. Here are some important seasonal considerations when planning your walleye fishing trip:

  1. Fall weather: Pay attention to weather conditions as they can affect walleye behavior. Cooler temperatures and overcast days are ideal for walleye fishing.
  2. Time of dayWalleye are most active during low-light periods like early morning or late evening. Plan your fishing trips accordingly.
  3. Water temperature: As the water cools down in the fall, walleye will start moving towards shallower areas in search of food. Look for spots with water temperatures between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Feeding patternsWalleye feed heavily during the fall to prepare for winter, so focus on areas with abundant baitfish populations. Look for schools of baitfish near weed beds, drop-offs, or rocky structures.
  5. Fall spawning: In some cases, walleye may start their fall spawning run upstream in rivers like the Willamette River. This can provide excellent fishing opportunities near tributary mouths and other spawning grounds.
  6. Fishing techniques: During the fall, trolling with crankbaits or using jigs and soft plastics near the bottom can be effective for catching walleye.

Fishing regulations

It is important to be aware of the fishing regulations when planning your walleye fishing trip on the Willamette River. The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife regulates fishing for walleye in this river, so it’s crucial to follow their rules and guidelines.

These regulations are in place to protect and preserve the walleye population, ensuring sustainable fishing opportunities for everyone. Make sure you check the current regulations before heading out on your fishing adventure, as they may change from time to time.

By following these regulations, you can enjoy a successful and responsible walleye fishing experience on the Willamette River.

Amenities and resources

There are many lakes in Oregon that have populations of walleye, and each of these lakes offers different amenities for anglers. Some lakes have camping facilities nearby, while others may have picnic areas and boat ramps.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife also provides resources for walleye fishermen, such as stocking reports and fishing regulations. It’s important to check the regulations before you go fishing to make sure you’re following the rules.

Additionally, if you need help finding the best spots or learning new techniques, there are fishing guides available for hire who can provide valuable knowledge and assistance during your trip.

Hiring a fishing guide

Hiring a fishing guide can greatly enhance your walleye fishing trip on the Willamette River. Guides have extensive knowledge of the river and its fishery, which means they know all the best spots to find walleye.

They can also provide valuable tips and techniques for successfully catching these elusive fish. In addition, guides are experienced in handling larger and heavier walleye, ensuring that you have a smooth and efficient fishing experience.

Whether you’re new to walleye fishing or simply want to improve your chances of landing a big one, hiring a fishing guide is definitely worth considering.


In conclusion, this ultimate guide provides all the information you need for successful walleye fishing on the Willamette River. From top lures and techniques to best spots and gear, you’ll be well-equipped to reel in some big catches.

So grab your fishing gear and head out to the Willamette River for an unforgettable angling experience!


1. What is walleye fishing?

Walleye fishing is the act of targeting and catching walleye, a popular game fish known for its tasty flesh and challenging nature to catch.

2. Where is the Willamette River located?

The Willamette River is located in Oregon and is a major tributary of the Columbia River. It flows through the Willamette Valley, near Portland.

3. Is walleye fishing popular on the Willamette River?

Yes, walleye fishing on the Willamette River is quite popular. The river supports a healthy walleye population, and anglers from all over visit the area to enjoy this fishery.

4. Can I catch other fish besides walleye in the Willamette River?

Absolutely! The Willamette River is home to a variety of fish species, including trout, steelhead, bass, crappie, salmon, sturgeon, and catfish. It offers an excellent opportunity for multi-species fishing.

5. What are some recommended fishing techniques for walleye on the Willamette River?

When targeting walleye on the Willamette River, popular techniques include trolling with lures, using jigs, and fishing in deep water. Experimenting with different methods can help you find what works best on a given day.

6. Are there any special regulations for walleye fishing on the Willamette River?

Yes, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations set by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. These regulations include fishing seasons, size limits, bag limits, and any specific restrictions for the area.

7. What is the best time to go walleye fishing on the Willamette River?

Walleye fishing on the Willamette River is typically best during the spring and fall seasons. However, they can be caught year-round with the right techniques and knowledge of their behavior patterns.

8. Are there any specific areas on the Willamette River that are known for walleye fishing?

Yes, the lower Willamette River and the Multnomah Channel are popular areas for targeting walleye. Willamette Falls, located near Oregon City, is also known to be a productive spot for walleye fishing.


Hi, I’m Kurt and I’m the author of walleyemania. I’ve been fishing for Walleye since I was a kid and I love sharing my tips, tricks, and stories with other anglers. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find something useful and entertaining on my site. I cover everything from the best gear, baits, and techniques to the best spots, seasons, and recipes for Walleye fishing. Join me on my journey to catch more and bigger Walleye!

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